Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2017 - 34th Anniversary.  Our 35th Year in Ministry.
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The Testimony:  The Miracle Painting miracle painting final 3 Jeanne Frasier Dress Shop.jpg

Updated 12/6/16

 

There were many obstacles that had to be overcome to finally have all the legal permissions in place to be able to actively use the property as the Parsonage/Rectory/Monastery of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.  In the City of Elmira churches are required to have their own parking lot.  This building is built out to the property line.  Various options were explored and none of them were viable for creating the parking lot space.  In the Building Code a Church assembly space is required to have a professional fire alarm system that is monitored twenty-four hours a day.  The fire alarm was designed by the New York State Fire Marshal /Fire Commissioner’s Office from Albany, NY and was installed.  We are grateful to the Wood family, the owners of  Fire Alarm Service Technology of Elmira, NY for their generous donation that partially funded the installation of the fire alarm.

 

We had tried to find ways to make the building Accessible for those with different abilities and be in line with the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Each proposal that was made was not accepted by the City of Elmira.

 

Finally, when it seemed that all possible avenues of requirements had been explored and there were still unresolved issues to receiving our Certificate Of Occupancy to open, an appointment was set to discuss how we would dispose of the building we were not able to use.  It was during that very meeting that there was another miracle that happened.

 

First, some background to the miracle.

 

Mr. Kenneth Frasier had visited with us a couple of times in December of 2001, right after the donation of the property was made to orientate us to special facts and features of the building he thought we might need to know about to be able to maintain it.  After all, Mr. Kenneth Frasier had personally cared for the entire building for years.  Mr. Frasier had built all the cabinets, all of the display cases and closets for his wife to display all the items she was selling in the Jeanne Frasier’s “Distinctively Different Selected Fashions and Boutiques since 1958” dress shop.  Mr. Frasier believed in building his own crown moulding and delicate trim on drawers and doors by cutting and layering pieces of specially selected woods together.  He had personally built almost everything in sight as we looked around the building.  As Mr. Frasier was leaving building and wishing us well for the last time we would see him, he was slowly walking out the main door of the future chapel.  Suddenly he stopped, and stared ahead into the street very pensively.  Mr. Frasier turned on his heels and looked me, Br. Benedict, directly into my eyes and said: “You know….   if you ever need a door, there is a door behind this painting.”  He pointed to the painting Mrs. Frasier had commissioned to be painted for her dress shop, pictured here.

 

miracle painting final 3 Jeanne Frasier Dress Shop.jpg

In my mind I immediately was thinking thoughts such as: “Oh, now why would we ever need a door into this room? We will never need that door, I am sure………..”  My mind was just racing with dismissive thoughts regarding ever needing a door “behind this painting.”  I thanked Mr. Frasier one last time as he smiled, looked directly into my eyes and said good-bye.

 

David Frasier remembers the artist’s last name who painted this piece as well as some other signs and stationary for the dress shop as York.  David also recalls Mr. York’s studio was on Water Street here in Elmira.  Anyone who has further information on Mr. York is asked to contact us as we would like to fill out the information we have on him to post here with this story.

 

If you look closely at the two following pictures of the building, at the time it was given to us, you will clearly see the painting in its original location. Unbeknownst to us, this painting was part of a wall that was covering an existing door which opens to the interior staircase into the first floor main room.

miracle painting final 2 Jeanne Frasier Dress Shop.jpg

 

 

 

miracle painting final 1 Jeanne Frasier Dress Shop.jpg

 

The painting is visible in this picture even as we were attempting to paint the building and do all the required renovations ourselves.  There were no plans to ever move that painting but to keep it there in honor of Mrs. Frasier.

http://www.rayofhopechurch.com/firsts~1.jpg

 

Finally, after hundreds of hours of hard work, lots of sweat, and lots of tears, it was obvious that every attempt to meet the legal requirements to open, that we had tried to fulfill between December, 2001 and May, 2003, had failed.  The day had finally arrived for us to give up our attempts, our hopes and dreams.  A scheduled meeting was set with Mr. William R. Wheeler, Fire Marshal, and Mr. Robert B. Lutz, Assistant Fire Marshal to bring the project to conclusion and receive instructions on what to do with an unusable building.  As Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz stood in front of me, Br. Shawn Benedict, in the main front room we had so hoped to open as our chapel, I put forth one last and final question – to hear it one last time –

 

“What would it take to be able to open this building as Parsonage/Rectory/Monastery of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.?  I am willing to move here and live here as the Pastor in residence.” 

 

Mr. Wheeler said; “The only possible way to do it is if there was a preexisting interior door that connected this main room to a preexisting interior staircase to the second floor and then the building would qualify as a Religious Residence with an Assembly Space.  Not having that, I am afraid you have reached the end of all of your available options, Br. Benedict.”

 

The Moment of Miraculous Truth

 

Immediately, as if it was a hologram, I saw a living and moving image of Mr. Kenneth Frasier, who had since passed on to Paradise, standing behind Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz.  This was a vision of Mr. Frasier in resurrection bliss, there is no doubt in my mind.  I could see through him, but he was standing in 3-D behind Mr. Lutz and Mr. Wheeler.  Mr. Frasier smiled gently with an intense joy, it is hard to describe the joyful energy he was exuding.  He simply repeated the actions of the last time I saw him.  Mr. Frasier pointed to the painting with his right arm and index finger, and then silently mouthed the very same words he had said to me as he was leaving the last time I thought I would ever see him;  “You know….   if you ever need a door, there is a door behind this painting.”   He looked deeply into my eyes and light was everywhere, he smiled and he was gone. 

 

Mr. Lutz said, “Brother, are you alright?”  I said, “Yes.  Wait right where you are standing, please, both of you.”  I ran into the tool room and brought out a hand saws-all and started cutting the painting out of the wall.  Mr. Wheeler said: “Stop, you are ruining the wall.”  I replied, “It is our building.  Wait a minute, please.”  I cut the drywall away and they helped me set the painting against the windowsill.  They were both in uniform with white shirts and dark blue pants, now full of drywall dust.  Then I kicked out the bottom half of the area.  I said, “Gentlemen, behold, a doorway.”  Mr. Lutz said; “It has to be an original door.”  I quickly looked and we all could easily see the cut out places in the wooden doorframe where the original hinges had been sometime in the past.

 

door 1.jpg

 

door 2.jpg

 

 

Of course the door you see on the left was not on the hinges.  I found that door on the curb down the street having been thrown away as trash later the same week. 

 

I seriously do not remember the words that were muttered as Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz left out of the front door.  They looked very shocked and confused by the whole experience.  There was broken drywall and paneling everywhere, and there was, most importantly, the needed door that connected an interior staircase to the main room on the main floor. 

 

We received our Certificate Of Occupancy and our Maximum Occupancy certification two or three days later on May 23, 2003 signed by both Mr. Wheeler and Mr. Lutz (who has also passed on to Paradise).

 

The Pastor was moved into the Parsonage/Rector/Monastery of Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. before the expiration of midnight on May 30, 2003 and the first formal public worship service was held in the great room, the chapel of the Monastery on Sunday morning, June 1, 2003, the first Sunday of Pride Month, 2003.

 

We have preserved the now famous “miracle painting” as we affectionately call it, and moved to the area next to the altar / credence table dedicated to The Incarnation of the Eternal Word, which is a 2016 gift to Ray Of Hope Church from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church here in Elmira, NY. 

 

miracle painting and altar.jpg

 

Just stop and ponder and ask yourself, what are the odds that Mr. Frasier would have stopped just seconds before he walked out the front door, and I thought I would never see him again, in this life, that he would then turn and say to me: “You know….   if you ever need a door, there is a door behind this painting.”  I am sure the mathematical odds are astronomical.  We see it as the work of the Holy Spirit and this why we give testimony to the miracle, the final event that made it possible for us to open.

 

 

 

By the end of 2003 this is how the building looked.
http://www.rayofhopechurch.com/front1.jpg
The parsonage in Elmira has been open since Sunday morning June 1, 2003, the first Sunday of Pride Month, 2003. Worship services are held in the pastor's parsonage chapel every Sunday morning at 10:30 AM. 

It is our hope that many people will use our facility, especially other gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, and heterosexual organizations will use our buildings for their meetings. We openly invite organizations to use our buildings.

Come and worship with us on a Sunday and come study the Scriptures with us on Tuesdays. Pray for us and be sure to thank God for the generous gifts many people are making as we maintain our worship center and remain open to the public. 

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As a reminder, our Ray Of Hope Church chapel is open for prayer every day and night from 7:00 AM to 12:00 AM.  (Closed 7 hours a day for cleaning and maintenance.) The Blessed Sacrament, the "Bread from Heaven" (Exodus 16:2, Psalm 78:24, John 6:32, 41,50,58), the Bread of the Angels (Psalm 78:25), the Bread of God (John 6:33), the Bread Of Life (John 6:35, 48) the Living Bread (John 66:51), the Sacrament of the Eucharistic "flesh and blood" of Jesus (John 6:52-56) is reserved in both kinds (Eucharistic bread and wine) in the Tabernacle in our chapel.  Please know you are always welcome to stop in for a visit with Our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament, for quiet prayer, a quiet place to read and meditate, say a rosary, or just be. Our little chapel could be your perfect get-away.  Who would suspect you were here?  If we see you in the chapel we will certainly say hello and offer a cup of tea or coffee.

 

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Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. teaches the Doctrine of Universal Salvation.  This is the statement we agreed upon in 2011.

 

“We believe that Salvation is a gift that God has given to the entire human race.  Romans Chapter Five explains this Doctrine of Universal Salvation.  One’s personal salvation is assured by believing in God as per John 5:24.  Salvation is best known through the Gospel of Jesus the Christ, and through rebirth by the Holy Spirit.” (Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc By-Laws September, 2011  Lines 1141 - 1148)